Discover how one of the world’s most famous beers is created so you can enjoy one of the most unique brewery tours in Europe!
Suppose there is any one thing all Czechs can agree to. In that case, it is the necessity and enjoyment of good beer, which is almost universally understood to be Pilsner Urquell. Introduced in 1842 as the world’s first golden, or “pilsner” lager, it became one of the most famous types of beer, the process of which is replicated in over two-thirds of today’s brands. The brewery itself is found in the heart of the historic town of Plzen, or Pilsen, inviting thousands of tourists and locals to learn about the process behind its famous beer and allowing visitors to taste the beer through all its stages.
Fascinating Tour of Original Brewing Houses
While everyone is well aware that the beer itself is the show’s star, the brewery saves the best for last. It provides a tour of the oldest buildings within the grounds and exhibits the original tools and kilns used to make Pilsner. While one cannot be blamed for being impatient (especially return visitors such as myself), the tour takes you through mines, tunnels, caves, and old fermenting rooms that date back to the 19th century. In fact, an entire network was created underground to transport ice, water, even archaic ventilation shafts that span miles underneath the bustling city of Pilsen. Furthermore, guests can be taken around the grounds in a horse-drawn cart, an homage to the old practices of the brewery.
A Barely Legal Glimpse into Today’s Facilities
Czechs have great pride in their heritage and culture, their love of beer above all. I can attest, for I am incredibly proud. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the way they make Pilsner today is a closely guarded secret. In fact, visitors are prohibited from taking pictures in most modern-day facilities, which they are copiously reminded of until the end. It is, nonetheless, perhaps one of the most interactive tours one could ever be a part of (in the best way). The complete tour can take up to 3 hours, yet each part of it is as exciting as the last, for you are taken on a step-by-step showing of how Pilsner is made (so well)! From the hops, barley, wheat, and even the water, you are encouraged to taste each component before arriving at the end of the tour to appreciate the articulate flavors of such a fine beer.
Na zdraví! / Cheers!
Finally, a cold beer at the end of a long day is well deserved. After hours of walking and listening, the guests are taken to the basements where the beer is fermented. While drinking a Pilsner Urquell in the Pilsner Urquell brewery is a fantastic experience in and of itself, it is made evermore extraordinary by the fact that it is one of the very few places in Europe where you can taste the beer before the active yeast in it is filtered out and made ready for public consumption. The flavor is made all the more unique, knowing how rare of an opportunity this is!
While many will tell you that all the great beer is in Germany, it is good to keep in mind that much of it originates in the Czech Republic, specifically Pilsen. The town itself is full of historical wonders, quaint bars, and restaurants that all offer distinctly unique flavors of the region. While beer lovers will undoubtedly enjoy a visit to the Pilsner Urquell brewery, it is an unforgettable experience for all that go and one I absolutely recommend.
Tom visited the brewery more than 6 times on separate occasions and is exceptionally proud his Czech roots lay in Pilsen(er).